Dissertation Abstracts

Retail Shift Workers: the Times and Rhythms of Emotional Labour.

Author: Dordoni, Annalisa , a.dordoni@campus.unimib.it
Department: Sociology and Social Research
University: University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy
Supervisor: Professor Giovanna Fullin, Professor Carmen Leccardi
Year of completion: In progress

Keywords: emotional labour , alienation , time , gender
Areas of Research: Work , Alienation Theory and Research , Youth


The topic of this research is the emotional labour, times and rhythms of working in the retail sector, in particular the perceptions and feelings of young retail shift workers in Milan (Italy) and London (United Kingdom). The methods used are qualitative methods: interviews, focus groups and ethnographic fieldwork. The information collected in these two comparative case studies will be analysed to understand both differences and similarities, in a gender perspective. The object of this study is the pace of working with customers - shift work, on Sunday, on holiday - in the main shopping streets of these European metropolitan cities, charachterized by post-fordism, deindustrialization and mass consumption. I want to examine from the point of view of the workers their representation of self and the specific kind of alienation in the retail sector, linked to the particular phenomenon of the immediacy of relationships in everyday life and the demand of instant satisfaction by customers in the shops and stores of Western countries.